Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The Birds Think it's Spring

Perhaps it was the recent fine weather, perhaps it's the lengthening daylight hours, but something has persuaded the birds that spring has arrived. This song thrush was high in a tree this morning singing his head off: it's the first time I've heard one this year.

The robins are also singing, but their main effort goes into chasing each other around the garden. It's exhausting just watching them.

Our tamest robin, the one who used to stand by the door and demand his own, special supply of food, seems, sadly, to have disappeared. Instead, there are at least four coming to the seed feeders, often at the same time and with the inevitable consequences.

Blackbirds confuse me. At one time there were just two sorts: the black ones with the orange beaks which were the males, and the brown ones which were the females. But apparently those are our resident adult British ones, some of whom move south for the winter, to be replaced by black males with brownish beaks which come from Scandinavia.

This one doesn't fit anywhere, being a brown bird with a part orange beak and an attitude problem. Perhaps it's a young male suffering retarded development of his full male finery.

This female has been with us through the whole winter. Throughout it, she has some sort of problem with the feathers on her right underside, perhaps caused by a growth.

Our generosity in feeding the blackbird mob has resulted in our having far too many blackbirds in the garden at the moment, which bodes badly for this summer's raspberry and strawberry crops.

The patent seed feeders have done a great job through the winter, having kept the seed clean and dry in all weathers. This is a slightly adapted Mark III.

We've had yellowhammers visiting all winter, and now that they're changing into their bright summer coats they're a pleasure to watch. They're also useful, as they eat the larger, coarser seeds such as the wheat and barley which the other small birds can't cope with.

The goldfinches are another bird, now in full summer finery, which has been visiting the seed and nut feeders all winter.

Our blackcap female, who was one of the unusual winter residents this year, hasn't been around for over a week. She's done this before, and then reappeared, but the male who arrived with her early in the winter and stayed a few days hasn't been seen again.


  1. Hi Jon,

    I've been following your posts for well over a year now, so I thought that I should leave a comment to say 'thanks' for the entertainment and great photos.

    I live in Foyers (Inverness-shire) and, funnily enough, I too heard my first thrush song of the year today. For me, it was a Mistle thrush atop a birch tree in my garden.

    All the best to you!

  2. Hi Tim

    Thank you for your generous comment about the Diary. Much appreciated.

    I haven't knowingly seen a mistle thrush here, sadly.